Contractor promises improvement in DISD alternative transportation next week

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on August 30, 2013 at 7:23 PM

DALLAS -- It has been a tough week for some parents and students in DISD.

They were concerned, confused and angry as they saw minivans, sedans, SUVs, and taxis pick up and drop off students in the first week of school, but changes are coming.

"On Tuesday, parents should expect not to see any taxis,” said American Logistics Company (ALC) VP of Corporate Communications Gregg Prettyman.

No more taxis will be used. Also,  every car operated by contract drivers from ALC will have magnetic signs on their doors showing the transportation is provided by Dallas County Schools, which runs DISD’s transportation program. They contracted with ALC to transport kids to Montessori, vanguard, magnet, and special program schools in the district.

The signs will be in addition to the fluorescent placards showing bus route numbers and school names. Prettyman also mentioned students should see the same driver and vehicle every day.

“With improved data we've gathered the past week, parents should see a lot smoother service,” he said.

It's the data they lacked from the start that made it a rough ride, including all the stops and the number of students using the transportation. This week, ALC brought in 25 people from across the nation to deal with the problems.

The company is loading all of that data it gathered this week into its dispatch system.

The system also works in combination with an internal app accessed by dispatch and drivers. It will help the company keep track of more than 400 DISD drivers and 200 routes. It also keeps track of the students using the system. Every move is monitored in real time.

For ALC, the feedback from parents at two outreach meetings this week helped. The company claims those meetings should have happened weeks before school started.

“The biggest lesson we learned this week was the outreach,” Prettyman said. “I think we should make sure the [districts] work with the community to let them know what type of vehicles are coming.”

News 8 spoke to some parents Friday afternoon. They told us they have seen some improvements, but they are still very concerned.

The district is still taking a look at the issue.

“We are actively working with Dallas County Schools on a plan to address parents’ understandable concerns,” said DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander. “Our goal, as always, is to ensure the safety of all of our students.”

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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